Hardwood Floor Installation: Time of the Year

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Just talked to on hardwood guy and he said now (April) is the good time to install wood. Because here in Calgary Alberta, we have very dry air in the winter. And if I wait until mid summer to do it, the gaps in winter will be larger.
So now the air is still fairly dry, it will be better to do it now than summer.
What he said kind of make sense to me but if that's true, what about people installing hardwood flooring in the driest months of the winter, wouldn't the floor all buckle during mid summer?
He also said to use narrower stripe like 2 1/4" so that the contraction and expansion are smaller.
Do you think what he said makes sense? Thanks.
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I live in a house built in 1834 in a near subtropical climate. I think your man has some reason on his side. Our floor shrink and expand with the seasons, inspite of central heat & air. TB
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johnny wrote:

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Your points about acclimating the flooring before installation and humidity control are spot on. They're crucial factors in achieving a tight floor. I can't agree with you entirely on the smaller strips being only for cupping - the narrower the boards, the smaller each individual gap will be. The expansion/contraction for the floor as a whole is the same, though.
I don't see why the floor guy's comments are reason to "kick him to the curb". He's obviously concerned about laying a tight floor and understands that humidity is the enemy.
As far as laying floors in super dry conditions. That's a problem, too. A floor that is laid very tight in very dry conditions may not buckle per se, but the wood fibers at the outside edges of each board will be compressed/crushed as the humidity increases. Then when the floor shrinks back down again in lower humidity the gaps will be bigger.
There's no such thing as perfect humidity or temperature control outside of some lab or a museum. Household HVAC helps, but it is not a total solution.
R
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

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To minimize expansion/contraction cycles you should try to maintain fairly uniform humidification. It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to minimize the extremes. Do you have central air conditioning to remove the excess summer humidity?
There are tradeoffs in this as in anything. Adding humidity in the winter can be problematic if your house doesn't have adequate insulation and a good vapor barrier. The moisture can end up condensing in your walls and causing a bigger problem than some relatively small gaps in your floor. So don't go overboard with the winter humidification.
If you take care of the acclimation of the flooring during installation and are aware of the problems created by too dry and too humid conditions and try to minimize the extremes, you'll be fine.
R
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NOFMA web site has useful "tip sheets" that include installation. TB
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wrote:

Thanks for all your replies. So would you say installing hardwood floor now in a medium himidity level day and run a humidifier in the winter is the preferred way to go? Thanks.
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Floors are instaled year around on quality homes and don`t have future issues if allowed to reach the same humidity as the home. It can take weeks or more. Only one way to know use a moisture meter. The guy just wants work now, he is BSn you, so what does he do when it is humid all summer, Not work? No he has a different line for humid times. Sounds like he is outa work and needs a job, But does he use a moisture meter to compare wood to your homes humidity, probably not. Floors need edge expansion room . Call the floor manufacturer or supplier.
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m Ransley wrote:

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The moisture meter is good insurance, and the acclimation can take a while as you say, but I'm not convinced that the contractor is scamming as some have assumed. It's obviously preferable to avoid installing during the seasons of highest and lowest humidity...which does point to now as a good time to do it.
As far as the floors getting installed year round, what choice is there? You don't expect the flooring manufacturers or wood organizations to recommend limiting the time of installation to just half of the year, do you? People start projects year round - they're not going to wait maybe months for the perfect conditions. More likely the owners/builders would switch flooring materials.
There are posts year round about the weather being too cold/hot/wet/whatever for concrete/stucco/whatever and the work forges on. We can give advice and recommendations on how to minimize the impact of the weather, but it can't be escaped in construction.
R
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johnny wrote:

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I didn't get the impression that the guy was exerting big pressure on the OP to do it NOW! I guess we'll have to wait for the OP to tell us if there were scare tactics involved and other telltale signs of a contractor in trouble. If not, maybe the guy was just being a regular contractor and asking for the guy to sign on the dotted line. We'll see.
R
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Measuring moisture % in wood is different then measuring humidity in air, dry wood is is considered less than 15%. My sill on concrete is 12% now in a basement of 50% humidity. I can see 90 % humidity being a minor concern but the real issue is wet wood shrinks . Properly instaled floors have expansion gaps as the house itself will expand and contract. Any new wood should be measured for % water, I use a Delmhorst meter. Wood takes a long time to dry if improperly stored at warehouses.
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Yes, as long as you let the wood acclimatate in your house before installation. Length of acclimatation depends on humidity difference between wood and environment. I let mine stand inside for one week. There has been some yearly shrinking every winter but it's acceptable (less than 1/16 inch between some planks, none in most places).
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jstp wrote:

Do you control indoor humidity? We have oak floor (2 1/4" planks) that was installed mid-sumer (July or August 2000), and there are lots of cracks of 1/16" to 1/8" in late winter/early spring (even now). We don't control humidity so winter indoor humidity runs around 30%.
Those cracks will dissapear toward summer.
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Go to www . rlcengineering . com (remove the spaces). Click on "Technical Information, then Moisture & Hardwood Floors. The Engineer is Craig DeWitt, PhD, PE. He has lots of good information on installing hardwood floors and wood and moisture problems in general. Read his homeowner information also. He has a wealth of knowledge. All your questions will be answered. I think you need a new floor man also, he knows just enough to be dangerous.
Stretch
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time of year? tax time
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"RicodJour" wrote in message

I'd kick him to the curb for the tactic of implying this is a good time to lay a floor, and implying winter is not the time to install. We both know flooring is installed year round and proper humidity control is the key for minimizing shrinkage/swelling regardless of when the floor is installed . The story the OP told leaves me with a visual of someone hurting for work, and some scare tactics to get work. In other words, not totally honest with the OP, so that is a concern.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

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I hope it isn't rainforest wood you're looking to install. What they're doing there is absurd.
The expansion/contraction cycle is unavoidable. You're just trying to minimize the gaps between the boards throughout the year without overcompensating and creating other problems.
That link that Stretch posted has good graphical depictions of what the wood floor is experiencing with changes in moisture. I didn't think the site had a lot to offer. Various wood and flooring organizations have more detailed information, including shrinkage ratios based on species.
So what's the deal with the contractor? Did you feel that he was pressuring you into having it done right away for reasons other than seasonal humidity timing?
R
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On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 04:17:45 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

I think running a humidifier is a good idea not only for your floors but for any woodwork. I used to be a professional bass player and the winter dryness was always hell on my hundred year-old double bass. Every spring it had to go back to the luthier to get reblocked/glued until I started running a large capacity humidifier.
Even though I no longer play double bass, or even own one anymore, I still keep a humidifier running 24/7 during heating season and the woodwork and furniture is happier for it.
As to your question, there are negatives to laying a floor in very dry conditions too, specifically an increased chance of cupping and even popping when the wood expands in summer humidity.
Steve Manes Brooklyn, NY http://www.magpie.com/house/bbs
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On Fri, 8 Apr 2005 14:07:09 -0400, "jstp"

Pardon my ignorance but I have question about the acclimatization of the wood. The indoor humidity cannot be controlled precisely at the same level all year round. The house will be drier in the winter and less so in the summer.
So if you aclimatise the wood in the summer, it'll still shrink in the winter and vice versa. It's not like we are flying the wood over from the Amazon rainforrest and install it right away.
My question is, even if we do aclimitise the wood, it's still gonna shirnk in the winter and expand in the summer. As long as the humidity level is within a reasonable range, what difference is it gonna make?
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wrote:

He mentioned it a bit at the end of the quote but I didn't go with him because his quote was higher. The species I am interested in is the Goodfellow Brazillian Teak (Cumaru), a very hard wood with a 10 coat polyurethen plus aluminium oxide finish.
It's a dark wood so I guess it'll hide the gaps better than lighter wood. In addition, according to the research I've done, it should shrink about 50% less than Oak.
I'm getting it in next week, acclimitise it for two weeks and install it before the end of the month.
I was a bit nervous about this purchase because I am paying good money for it ($10K material and labour for the whole house).
Friend of mind asked me why didn't I get the cheap Home Depot $1.99/sq ft Oak and save myself a bundle. No way I'm going to get those paper thin wood that cannot be refinished with a filmsy finish. And that once the wood goes down, it's probably not coming out for the rest of the life of the house. You might actually be spending more and getting less with those cheap wood.
Thanks to the internet and guys like you from here, I'm getting quite comfortable with this purchase now and I think I have made the right decision.
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On Sat, 09 Apr 2005 05:47:08 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

Your observation is correct. The reason is because you want the finish floor and the subfloor you're fastening it to to have roughly the same moisture content so they'll expand/shrink together. The expansion/contraction may be tiny... less than 1/4" over a large room... but it's powerful enough to loosen nails and split the tongues.
That's also why the finish floor should be acclimatized in the same room, or at least the same level of the house, where it will be laid.
Steve Manes Brooklyn, NY http://www.magpie.com/house/bbs
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